It’s a very Green Day Xmas from avant-garde director John Roecker–a favorite guest on Movie Night for his films Svengali and “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Gay Porn Stars” and his poignant, passionate video manifesto on creativity–who delivers his short film, a modern romance “They’re All Out Without You” as an underground alternative to “It’s A Wonderful Life.” The film is based on characters originally visualized from Green Day’s Grammy Award winning album “American Idiot,” the first true “punk rock” opera. This a a guerrilla online release, catch it while you can!
Originally shot as part of “Heart Like a Hand Grenade,” Roecker’s documentary filmed during the making of Green Day’s seminal album, TAOWY is compiled from footage that was lost for several years. Roecker told me:
The characters meet when the album is recorded. I wanted that Godard moment in Sympathy for the Devil, and Heart Like A Hand Grenade was turning out really long. I cut footage from 3 hours and stashed it, and forgot where it was. When our basement flooded, I found a lunch box and opened it up and there was the footage, so Dean my editor and I cut it up and I made the short.
Though the film, which stars Mikey Brannon and Ashleigh Darkbloom, showcases four songs by Green Day with the band’s blessing, the music usage hasn’t been authorized by Warner Bros., the band’s label. With regards to that detail, Roecker says he doesn’t like the money part or legal part, he just wants to do art. But he also knows there might be ramifications of releasing a film with music that hasn’t been licensed.
Earlier this year, I lost forty-five percent of the vision in my right eye, and they can’t repair it. At the hospital I said to myself, “You know fuck it, I’m gonna release it if they sue me, they sue me.” Green Day is okay with it. And I would rather have five people see my work who like it, and how it was meant to be, than a million see it cut to pieces. I don’t want to have any problems with Warner Bros. And record labels have their own problems to deal with. They might not even care. But it’s nerve wracking, and it’s a big decision.
“They’re All Out Without You” is lush and rich, showcasing Roecker as a superlative filmmaker, well versed in the language of cinema, bold and passionate. Whether TAOWY will last online through the New Year remains to be seen, so see it while you can here.
(And in light of of SOPA, this could play out very interestingly)